Dundee United manager Robbie Neilson admits Lawrence Shankland’s Scotland call-up may make it tougher to keep him at Tannadice long term.
Nevertheless, Neilson is thrilled for both the striker and the club.
Indeed, he moved quickly to pass on the good news to United’s American owner Mark Ogren, the man who may have to fight off big-money bids for Shankland at some stage.
Neilson sees the decision by national coach Steve Clarke to include the 15-goal frontman in his squad for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against Russia and San Marino as a huge compliment to United and “Shanks.”
It is still a rare thing for a Championship player to receive such an honour – Hibs’ John McGinn was the last one – and it certainly shines even more of a spotlight on the Tangerines’ frontman.
Neilson said: “The call-up is fantastic for him.
“He has been brilliant for the last two seasons and it’s well deserved.
“It is great for the club as well and it has given everyone a real boost.
“Getting a call-up probably means it will be more difficult for us to keep him but we would much rather people were talking about him than not.
“It’s great for United and everyone here will be willing him on next week.
“I found out about it on Monday and there were a few rumblings it might happen.
“The chairman (Ogren) and (sporting director) Tony Asghar were both delighted to hear the news.
“Lawrence will cope with it no problem and he knows a few of the players already.
“He played with Andy Robertson at Queen’s Park so knows him well and there are a few from Aberdeen he also knows.
“It has come quicker than he or we would have expected but he is the kind of player that if you create chances he will put them away.”
Shankland is an unassuming character so Neilson is confident he won’t get his head turned.
The United boss added: “From speaking to Lawrence about it, he just wants to go there and do as well as he can in training.
“He won’t get too carried away with it. He knows he just has to show Steve what he’s all about.
“If he can give Steve something to think about when he is picking his team then all the better.”
Neilson compared Shankland to a fellow goal-grabber who is currently with Queen of the South but went all the way to the English Premiership with Swansea.
He said: “Lawrence is a bit in the Stephen Dobbie mould in that he has had to move down a level to get back up again.
“Dobbs moved from Rangers, then Hibs and then eventually it was at Queen of the South everything clicked for him.
“He was phenomenal there and got his move to England on the back of it.
“Dobbs went on to have a fantastic career in England, playing at the top level in the Premiership.
“Sometimes some people just have to take that little step back to go forward and I think Lawrence is very similar.
“He moved away from home as a young kid to join Aberdeen and wasn’t playing first-team football.
“He was in that little gap where he was training but wasn’t getting into the team so it’s difficult to kick on because you’re not getting the games.
“He left there after a few loan deals and when he joined Ayr he got himself in good shape and has really kicked on.
“For strikers there is nothing like scoring goals to get the confidence going and get them really kicking on.
“When you look at him, when he was with Queen’s Park and then at Aberdeen’s reserves he was always scoring goals.
“When someone is released by a club it doesn’t always mean it’s the end for them, for a lot of people it’s just the start – and that has been the case for Lawrence.”